Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Third Quarter Outside Reading Book Review

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 2006
Genre: Nonfiction/Biography

The book starts off talking about Tom Lemming who traveled the country searching for the best high school football players who would be eligible for a scholarship to college. One day, he got a tape which had Michael Oher playing football on it. Lemming could not believe his eyes so he had to go out and meet Oher himself and from there he learned of his incredible story. Michael came from a poor family and his mother was addicted to drugs and had continuous children so Michael was always on the run. He stumbles upon Leigh Anne Tuohy who takes him in and cares for him. He gets enrolled in school but gets very poor grades. That becomes a problem as he wants to play football in college so with the help of his new family and his tutor Miss Sue he overcomes all of the struggles of his life and becomes able to play football for Ole Miss and now Michael Oher is currently playing football for the Baltimore Ravens.

"Lewis is the finest storyteller of our generation, and this is his best book. Supposedly about's actually an extraordinary story about love and redemption." -Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Blink.

The book is nonfiction and tells about the story of Michael Oher as well as facts about football and the author, Michael Lewis was able to write it due to countless years of research and interviews. It brings you on a journey through Michael's life and there are some pretty brutal moments from poverty, drugs and abuse. You are in awe at how generous some people can be as Leigh Anne gives Michael an education, food, shelter and most importantly a family. The book uses elements of religion, racism and love and morphs it into an incredible story.

"The lady said she was just trying to establish the facts of the case, but the facts didn't describe the case. If the Tuohys were Ole Miss boosters-and they certainly were-they had violated the letter of every NCAA rule ever written. They'd given Michael more than food, clothing and shelter. They'd given him a life." (202)

I had to choose a biography and while searching for one, I stumbled upon this book on a bookshelf and I had heard about the story before and the buzz on the movie so I knew it was a great story to begin with but I never thought that it would be so powerful. The story really showed you how a good deed goes a long away. It is up to you to do the right thing. This book has really inspired me to help out people more and to be a better person. Since I am not a sports fan and don't know much about football, I was a little skeptical but the book makes non-sports fans enjoy the story just as much because Lewis uses a very simple and easy way to describe the basics and I really appreciated that.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Necessity of Frienship

You always need someone to pick you up when you are down and someone to always be by your side. Whenenver you are afraid, confused, disgusted, gloomy, puzzled, troubled or upset, you need someone there. Friendship comes a long way and affects everyone it is associated with in a positive way. Most friends are in the same age bracket as you, give or take a few years. But, that is not always the case as indicated by Santiago and Monolin’s friendship in The Old Man and the Sea. They have an age difference of over sixty years but are still the best of friends! They depend and count on each other. They need each other.

Manolin looks up greatly to Santiago and shows a lot of respect towards him. Santiago is his role model. That also means that Manolin cares a lot about Santiago and wants the best for him just as Santiago would for Manolin. Santiago does not want Manolin to worry about him and wants him to think everything is fine. “There was no cast net and the boy remembered when they had sold it. But they went through this fiction every day. There was no pot of yellow rice and the boy knew this too.” (16)

Santiago gets lonely and very bored while fishing sometimes and always wants Manolin to be by his side. He wants Manolin to experience everything with him. He knows that that would make Manolin ecstatic, just to fish alongside his role model and friend and experience the ocean, the sight, the sound, the smell. It would be magical but Santiago knows that Manolin’s parents do not allow him to come along with him and Santiago understands that and respects their decision. That does not mean he can’t wish or hope that Manolin was there. “Then he said aloud, “I wish I had the boy. To help me and to see this.” (48) Oh, how much it would mean to the both of them for Manolin to be there. Imagine how giddy and whimsical they would feel. What if you could not be with your friends during their best moments?

Not to sound obvious or vague here, but friendship brings happiness and joy to people’s lives. Plain and simple. It would not be hard to decipher or figure out that without each other, Santiago's and Manolin’s lives would be pretty dull and miserable. They give and bring to each other happiness, joy, excitement and most importantly fun. Just imagine a life like that. Yeah, it is not a pretty sight. "The old man had taught the boy to fish and the bo loved him." (10)

We already know that Santiago longs for Manolin to be along with him, so Santiago is forced to talk to himself in order to get his ideas across or as a form of communication. Manolin and Santiago ’s friendship is obviously pretty important and noteworthy if Santiago feels the need to talk to himself while out alone at the sea. Sure, he may have been doing it for years but it is his way of expressing his need for Manolin and I think that Manolin understands that. “You better be fearless and confident yourself, old man”, he said. “You’re holding him again but you cannot get line. But soon he has to circle.” (84) A sight of an old man talking and referring to himself in the third person might give people the idea of craziness, but it is just a simple plea of the importance of friendship.

You might think I am being overdramatic on the need of friendship and that Manolin and Santiago have other ways to bring happiness to themselves, but the reality is that friendship is one of the most important things that people can have. Imagine your life without your friends by your side, the people who you can trust and count on. The people who you can easily tell secrets to. The people who make you smile no matter what and make you feel better when you are hopeless, angry and bitter. The people who are always there for you no matter what. That is the true definition of friendship.